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Kudos for a great diary, and I too have a question:

There are only four major urban civilization recorded.

    * The middle-east from where most of us of advanced countries have inherited the concept... Tigres and Euphrates (The reference to Gilgamesh often seen as the father of the City concept or at least as it's vehicle in litterature).
    * The Indus and the Gange one (not yet fully recorded) with Mohenjo-Daro and now several cities discovered i what is also called the Harrapa civilization.
    * The Yellow river in China, Huanghe that is the Chines civilization cradle
    * The high plateau of Andes... (Uh???) Hey, how come? Where is the hot desert and the river ?... Well in South America the problem (as in France today) was more about the crop... Corn ! That is highly demanding of water! And on a limestone plateau that's not a simple task!

Could you comment a bit on why the city states of ancient Mesoamerica (e.g., Tical, Palenque, Montealban, Teotihuacan, etc.) don't count? Is it because the core function of these cities seems to have been religious and ritual? They were built around temples and other sites of worship and ritual, and while they usually developed peripheries of human dwellings (apparently housing tenths of thousands of people in some cases), housing a human population never seems to have been the primary function of these cities. Of course, it may be equally appropriate to view these as instantiating a radically different concept of the city - since they did develop a lot of the same structural features as cities in other places.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

by brainwave on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 10:31:15 AM EST
They are recorded... :-)
The Altiplano, next to Titicaca lake is considered (rightly or wrongly, I can't say) as the origin point of the Tihuanaco culture.

Then, Manco Capac and Mama Occlo, Vircocha's offsprings will begin the Inca's civilization. That Mesoamerican building culture will go further north to Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, as east to the Amazon basin (now Brazil) !
The original Mesoamerican City would have been a bit more of the Egyptian model ( quite unique in middle-east) where political and religious power would have been de-centralized in several cities (instead of a "state city"). The city of the dead or it's religious counterparts being built with stone while the still half nomadic population in wood (i.e. organic) buildings.

What's left is mostly pyramids in each case :-)

Housing, wasn't in history the first need of the City, it often came with troubled times of war when people lived behind the "great walls"... And stayed! Most farmers would live in his farm but have a symbolic representation in the "Palace".
Even later, as in India's Fatehpur Sikri most of the "common" people lived in organic or non glazed houses. Here, as in Mesoamerica, there was a water problem  (in the original design) and the city was left to nature...!


"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 12:24:50 PM EST
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Uh, not sure I follow. I may be misunderstanding, though. Mesoamerica is the cultural and linguistic area that reaches from the Valle de Mexico into Honduras and Costa Rica. There are nearly 4,500 miles between Mexico City and Lima as the crow flies, and as far as I know there are no demonstrable direct connections between Mesoamerica and any of the Andean civilizations.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 12:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then I don't know...!
I'll have a look if I can find something :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 01:06:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok... Seems to be my fault ! As in the Indus-Gange case where there is maybe influence or not, the South America urban civilizationS have two geographically different territories... But they do have the same water and corn problem... That's why there has been this mix-up... Sorry!

I'm more "fluent" with the other side of the world... The Americas is a bit of a "mystery" for many of us (pre-colombian times)...
We usually discover it though Tintin :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 01:30:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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